Christmas, the world over, is a time in which families and friends celebrate their closeness and celebrate the spirit of the season. It’s pretty consistently a time when people try to be the best version of themselves and inspire others to do the same. The way groups of people celebrate Christmas around the world, though, is far from consistent. Certainly far from
A fun Ukrainian tradition at Christmas time is decorating trees with fake spider webs, intended to bring the household good luck. There are other countries which traditionally believe that a spider or spider web in a Christmas tree is good luck, so this is a way of “making your own luck” for Christmas.
The Christmas Pickle is hung somewhere secret in the tree. If you find it, you get an extra present, or a some extra good luck. The Christmas Pickle is becoming more and more common of late, with glass pickle ornaments showing up in many stores. Interestingly, though, there’s no clear origin to this tradition. It used to be claimed that it was German in origin, but this does not seem to be the case.
Perhaps one of the youngest, yet most widespread, Christmas traditions, takes place in Japan. Since the mid-1980s, it has become tradition to order Kentucky Fried Chicken as a Christmas meal. With Japan’s growing fascination with Western culture at a high in the 1980s, everything starting being imported, from fashion to food. One huge import was American fast food chains. KFC became a huge hit, and in the mid-seventies they introduced the concept of eating KFC on Christmas. Since Christmas is primarily secular in Japan, there weren’t many Christmas traditions, so this one took off in a matter of a few years.
Christmas Poop Log
This Catalan tradition of a gift-bearing Christmas log, or Tió de Nadal, has a not-so-hidden secret. Well, it’s technically hidden, by a traditional blanket. The Christmas Poop log, also called Caga Tió, has four stick legs and a stick nose, with a painted on face. The family must feed the log at night time, and his back is covered with a blanket. He is then beaten with sticks and ordered to poop candy for the household.
Almost a cousin to the Japanese tradition of eating chicken, the Swedish Christmas tradition is not, fortunately, to eat a duck every Christmas. Instead, families gather around the television to watch an hour-long Donald Duck Christmas Special. This has happened since 1959, and the special continues to be aired without commercials. Swedes who watch the show every year even make a Christmas tradition of quoting along with the show.
What new-to-you Christmas tradition might you try this coming holiday season? Does anyone in your family, friend group or neighborhood have a tradition you aren’t used to? Perhaps integrating something new in to your regular traditions will help more folks share in the same spirit, and boost your own, this year.